Lehmkuhl Earns His 'Stripes'
You may remember that recently Reichen Lehmkuhl was honored with a “Visibility Award” from the Human Rights Campaign along with his recently out and proud partner Lance Bass, formerly of N*Sync fame. On ABC’s Sunday edition of Good Morning America, Reichen was peddling his new autobiography, Here’s What We’ll Say: Growing up, Coming Out, And The U.S. Air Force Academy.
In the book he recalls what life was like in the military being gay. He also talks about the alleged sexual assault that happened to him at the Air Force Academy and why he never reported it until essentially now.
Reichen Earns his “Visibility Award” with this book and his interview.
Here’s a snippet from the GMA interview:
While the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibited military personnel to question fellow soldiers about their sexual orientation, Lehmkuhl said it offered little protection for a gay captain hoping to maintain his privacy and his dignity.
“There was definitely an institutionalized acceptance of people being homophobic and telling gay jokes and making homophobic remarks â€” really, really mean homophobic remarks to the point of, ‘Kill gay people,’ ” he said.
Speculation grew about Lehmkuhl”s sexual orientation until one night, when he said he was sent a message. He said he was sexually assaulted by the people he served beside everyday.
“A bag was put over my head,” he said. “I was stripped of my clothes. I was forced to do things sexually with two other male cadets.”
Lehmkuhl said that night he hit rock bottom and considered ending his life.
“That’s when you start having suicidal thoughts, and that’s when you start saying, ‘Oh my God. I am so stuck in this situation. I can’t go to anyone,’ ” he said.
He kept silent about the incident, and served out his commitment to the Air Force.
I’d say [in the tone of “Ricky”] ‘Somebody’s got some ‘splainin’ to do!‘ The Air Force, the branch that I served 4 years under needs to get an investigation going. This is unacceptable behavior even with the ‘DADT’ policy in place. The artlice later asserts that “[he] hopes his story will help prompt the military to take a more critical look at the policy on gays â€” a policy, he said, that is simply failing.”
I can’t wait for the fundie response to this one.